The Why? Curve
Should the government spend its way out of the doldrums?
Season 1, Ep. 34
This week we learnt that the government racked up its highest December budget deficit on record. In fact, there have only been a few months which were higher, and all during the throws of the COVID pandemic. So, does the government need to cut back on spending and give the country another dose of austerity? Or can it keep spending. Modern Monetary Theorists say a government with its own sovereign currency can keep spending so long as there are resources that can be put to productive use. Are they right? Frances Coppola is a financial writer, who knows from the inside the workings of banks and governments. She says she is a 90% advocate of MMT. So, is it the right answer for Britain right now?
The Grey Suits Running the Global Economy
Season 1, Ep. 42
How much interest you pay on your home loan is determined largely by the unelected representatives in the world’s central banks. This week the Bank of England took its turn in announcing rate hikes in their bid to keep prices under control. They also have a mandate to ensure stability in the banking sector. The way things are right now, you might question whether they’re up to either task. Phil and Roger ask Dr Supriya Kapoor (Assistant Professor in Finance at the Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin) whether central banks are pursuing the right approach, whether we have the right people in these jobs, and whether it makes sense to keep the functions of monetary policy (by the banks) and fiscal policy (by the government) separate, particularly at times like these.
The Great Divide
Season 1, Ep. 41
The chancellor has told us how he’s going to slice the national cake this year, but there are those who say he has done nothing to push back against the growing gap in British society - that those who have are getting more, and those who don’t are getting less. The wealth gap, one of the worst in Europe, has increased over the last 20 years, and many see the consequent divide in attitude, social values and politics, with a surge in extremist views, growing as well. Are we, then, increasingly, TWO nations? Despite that, Pat Thane, Professor of Contemporary History at King’s College London, and author of the book Divided Kingdom: A History of Britain from 1900 to the Present, tells Phil and Roger we may actually be moving closer now to a post-Brexit consensus on major national questions.
Work in Progress
Season 1, Ep. 40
In the 1930’s John Maynard Keynes predicted that, with automation and new ways of working, we’d all be working a 15 hour week. Many of us grew up being told that there would be more time for leisure. Yet, here we are, working as hard as ever. Except those who saw the pandemic as an opportunity to leave the workforce altogether. For many, we might be working harder, but spending more time working from home, without the drudgery of the daily commute. So, are we finding a new, more balanced way of working? How are companies adapting to this shift in behaviour? And are some of the fundamental issues of work, like bad management, ever going to shift. Phil and Roger have a barrage of questions for Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management, Cranfield University, and author of several books on the subject, including ‘New Ways of Organising Work’ and ‘Flexible Working In Organisations’